Day One: Tuesday, March 28, 2023

10:45 EDT

60 min
Richard Sharpe

Return to Work: Ensuring Workplace Safety and Accommodations for Equity Seeking Groups

Richard Sharpe, Director, Black Equity Branch, Centre for People, Culture and Talent, Treasury Board Secretariat, Ontario Public Service

How can HR act as ambassadors for promoting workplace diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion?

  • Importance of promoting equity, collection of disaggregated EE data, targeted hiring, supporting managers.
  • Being a good ally/co-conspirator.

How do you encourage inclusion and diversity in all areas of an organization?

  • Understand the importance of lived experience on the HR advice, LRO
  • Black Inclusion, Indigenous Reconciliation as a part of the design of how we do our work.

How do you engage different demographics?

  • Authentic engagement. What this looks like.

11:45 EDT

60 min
Rita Samson

Meeting the Duty to Accommodate Based on Gender Identity and Gender Expression in the Workplace – What You Should Know

Rita Samson, Senior Policy Analyst, Ontario Human Rights Commission

Drawing on the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on preventing discrimination because of gender identity and gender expression, participants will learn about:

  • Forms of discrimination experienced by trans and gender-diverse people in the workplace;
  • Key principles of accommodation
  • How to deal with requests for accommodation based on gender identity and gender expression, including:
    • employer and service provider responsibilities in the accommodation process
    • how to determine whether an accommodation is appropriate
  • Limits on the duty to accommodate including “undue hardship”

12:45 EDT

45 min


Day Two: Wednesday, March 29, 2023

10:30 EDT

60 min
Glenn French

Accommodation or Discipline: Addressing Workplace Violence

Glenn French, President & CEO, The Canadian Initiative on Workplace Violence

Aggression, whether actual or perceived, are now linked to schools, health care facilities and workplaces we once thought safe. As safety concerns increase, so too must the knowledge and skill of those who, up until now, were not tasked with making judgements about an individual’s capacity. This applies to managers, human resource professionals and those who must represent both victims and perpetrators.

One of the most difficult questions, regardless of the setting, is how to make a distinction between those situations where an individual must be accommodated or disciplined. As a labor representative or human resource professionals, we need to have a basic working knowledge of how anger and conflict can escalate into violence, regardless of the source. In this session, special attention will be paid to those difficult situations wherein the organization must decide on how best to respond. Simply put – is this a case for accommodation, progressive discipline, or termination?

Building on what you already know, you can expect to learn more about:

  • The anatomy and evolution of violent acts
  • The role of psychiatric and other medical conditions
  • Prevention and response strategies
  • The role of “perceived personal control” when considering a potential threat
  • Important considerations when responding to aggressive behavior
  • Considerations when deciding if accommodation or discipline is warranted

11:30 EDT

60 min
Ian D. Hurley

Disability Claims and the Duty to Accommodate

Ian D. Hurley, Partner, Lecker & Associates

  • Understanding short-term and long-term disability insurance, as well as other sources of income protection available to employees
  • Duties and responsibilities of employers and employees from the initial disability leave to a return to work
  • COVID-19 disability claims and accommodation
  • Termination of employment and its impact on disability claims

12:30 EDT

45 min


14:15 EDT

60 min
Joel Smith

The Endpoint of Accommodation: Undue Hardship, Frustration of Contract and Wrongful Dismissal

Joel Smith, Partner, Williams HR Law LLP

  • Discuss how far employers must go when accommodating employees
  • Examine the legal test for undue hardship, including practical examples
  • Explore the practical differences between accommodating to the point of undue hardship and frustration of contract
  • Assess the implications and next steps when reaching the points of undue hardship and frustration of contract, including possible wrongful dismissal actions and termination grievances

15:15 EDT

60 min
Seema Matlib

Investigating Allegations of Discrimination, Harassment and Failure to Accommodate

Seema Matlib, Labour Relations Advisor, The Regional Municipality of Durham

  • The basis for a workplace investigation: workplace harassment, sexual harassment, workplace violence, discrimination based on a protected Code ground, a failure to accommodate, poisoned work environment, reprisal, retaliation and policy breaches.
  • When to investigate? An employer’s statutory obligations to investigate discrimination and harassment allegations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act  (OHSA) and the Human Rights Code.
  • Steps in the Investigation process and summarizing your findings.
  • Next steps and options to restore a healthy, respectful, discrimination and harassment free workplace